Did you get a chance to listen to the Friend song by the Winans? I’m sure from that you know that I want to talk about the greatest friendship you could ever have, a friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I love how in the video you see them about to burst with the joy in the Lord. I knew I was going to talk about friendship this week but the focus changed slightly a couple of days ago I was awakened by the radio and the person speaking was encouraging people not to give immediately I knew I was to share about fighting for your relationship with Christ.
You hear on talk shows about fighting for relationships with husbands and wives, and there are books about fighting for time with family. After listening to that plea on the radio I started to think about what it means to truly press through to get the relationship we were meant to have. Truly the best thing you can do for any personal relationship is be sold out for Jesus Christ. I had an experience in college where I was praying with a friend in her dorm room. That night I felt the presence of God stronger than I have ever felt it before or since; he was almost tangible. I felt love that made my heart just melt. It was a thousand times greater than any love or acceptance I have ever felt. I intuitively knew that all my needs were met and I could have stayed there forever. When we finally stopped praying four hours had passed. I have been reflecting on that night this week and wondering why It has been so easy for me to let life overwhelm me. I have been caught up in pressure and what I can see. I Sometimes become like an Israelite forgetting my friendship with God and taking him for granted.
I have found there is a spiritual cry in each one of us that desires a closer relationship to God. Psalm 42:7 addresses this:
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
There is a part of you that cries out for the living God. Only he can filll that space, and if you are not filling it with Christ you will feel an ache, a restlessness and dissatisfaction with life in general as you try to fill it with relationships, money, television, or anything that keeps your focus away from God.
I used to work in an office that received beautiful floral arrangements every week. One day a beautiful tulip broke away from the branch. I tried to save it because it was so beautiful and put it in a bowl of water. My efforts worked for a couple of days because it became disconnected it died. This reminds me of the metaphor the true vine in John 15:4:
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
I had a co-worker that was a beautiful Christian woman at my old job. She was beloved by the company so much that before she got married the Company had a bridal luncheon at an exclusive hotel the year before I joined the firm. Though we weren’t that close but her faith was evident, and we had several conversations about God and went to lunch occasionally. She was a member of an awesome Church with several of my friends. She was laid off about five years ago and never quite recovered. After she left the company I would see her occasionally and we would talk about getting together. I would think about contacting her but then would get busy and forget. I found out a couple of years ago that she died due to complications with bulimia. She was devastated by the layoff and had some things going on in her personal life that caused her to give up on life. I had no idea she was in such pain. I wish I could have spoken to her back then as the person I am today. I had no idea how tough her situation must have been, but now that I am in a similar situation understand. Her story could just have easily been mine, but somehow God’s grace I have been able to navigate through these challenges and trust he will continue to give me strength. It’s so easy to give up and want to throw in the towel. Sometimes thoughts come to mind when I am feeling my weakest; it is all I can do to just stand. I am staying accountable to Friends and family and have even been through counseling as things continued to get rough. I love the story of Blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10: 46-52:
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging.
47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
One of the reasons I am so intense with my worship is that my heart is crying out to heaven for the presence of God.
The are many studies on Spiritual warfare. The greatest warfare is a life that is yeilded to God. James 4:7 :: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
The greatest weapon is praise as I shared with you earlier in 2Chronicles 20:20-24. Don’t focus to much on the Enemy and what he is doing, but focus on God becoming his friend. He will let you know the secrets of his heart and amazing things he is about to do before hedoes thim as in Revelation 4:1
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this
I have experienced that you begin to stand not because of stories people have told you, or being guilted into how you should feel, but because God becomes so real to you and your story becomes a walking epistle.
As I talked about in an earlier message. I reminded of the one of the Stories of Smith Wigglesworth, an incredible man of faith that performed many miracles in the 1920’s. He awakened one night to find Satan in his room. He was not shaken in even the slightest way but turned over and went back to sleep completely confident in the promises of God. If you are interested look at www.smithwigglesworth.com. This website is a record of his faith walk and his life and sermons. It will encourage and build up your faith.
As always have a blessed week!! May you get a deeper revelation of what it means to be a friend of God and feel the true embrace of his spirit.
The song today is God is Able by Smokie Norful. The first time I heard this song I was stunned. I’m not sure what his story is, but you can hear his heart crying out to God.